D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is asking for millions of dollars in funding for what she calls the "whole of community" approach to gun violence.
"We all know that the government can do a lot of things and we can do a lot of things well, but we won't solve gun violence without each other," Bowser said.
The mayor proposed $59 million in public safety investments for Building Blocks D.C., which launched in February and was set up to pool resources across
District agencies to help communities most impacted by gun violence.
Included in her proposal:
- $11 million dollars in cash assistance for returning citizens
- $7.8 million for violence interrupters
- $5.6 million for the creation of 110 jobs for at-risk individuals
- $1.5 million in grants for community organizations doing working in the streets
"I have been struck by the number of residents who have come to me, who come out of their pockets every day providing for their communities. These grants are for you," said Linda Harllee Harper, the director of Gun Violence Prevention.
It’s welcome news for Regina Pixley, a first responder and the founder of Regina’s Place, a faith-based nonprofit supporting victims’ families
Pixley says the funding would mean organizations can focus more on helping their communities instead of worrying about paying the bills
"The Bible tells us faith without works is dead -- and the works part is the finances," Pixley said.
Dr. Warees Majeed of No Slide Zone, a movement to tackle cross-ward violence, says collaboration is critical, but often lacking because resources are limited. He says groups with the same common goal are sometimes pitted against each other.
"It's so sad. We have organizations here, there. They’re not talking. I think this is a great move," Majeed said.
Success will not happen overnight. Homicides are up 20 percent compared to last year and gun violence has risen during the summer each year since 2017.
But Majeed hopes these new investments will move him closer to the day where his services will no longer be needed.
"And that’s what the goal is. We want to find something else to do, but we cant do that until we get to zero," he said.
The mayor's proposal also includes funding for youth safety initiatives like the Safe Passage program and temporary safe housing for residents involved in gun violence.
Funding will have to be approved as part of the D.C. Council's budget vote.